Posted by Joseph Pronechen on Sunday Sep 25th, 2016 at 8:22 AM
Experts Urge Catholics to Explore Scripture
Mary Kee knows the benefits of Bible study groups, which she has participated in for upwards of 20 years, usually at her home parish of St. Theresa Church in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.
She says she began to study the Bible “to better understand the Scripture passages, the readings at Sunday Mass and the daily readings, and to enhance my understanding of the faith.”
Stephen Ray, author, speaker, writer-producer-host of the DVD series The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation From Abraham to Augustine and EWTN guest, agrees: “St. Jerome said back in the third century, ‘Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.’ You can’t say it any simpler.”
He finds it ironic that people often travel the world looking for apparitions and seeking the words of God, “and right on our table, gathering dust, is the Bible. We’re trying to hear God’s word today, and what’s sitting on the table is the inspired and infallible word of God.”
Edward Sri, professor of theology at the Augustine Institute and author of The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures (Ascension Press), points out that all Catholics need to see sacred Scripture isn’t just a bunch of stories from a long time ago or ancient text with proverbial wisdom. “These are the inspired words of God — God speaking to each one of us through the sacred Scriptures,” he explained.
No Foreign Idea
Why might people shy away from reading and studying the Bible? Ray believes that many Catholics think that Protestants have claimed the Bible for themselves.
“In reality,” Ray (CatholicConvert.com) explained, “it’s one of the most important things that we do. This is our book. We’re the ones who wrote it and translated it. It’s our heirloom.” It should be “read in our family,” he added.Multiple Bible Studies for all at Catholic Scripture Study International
St. Jerome, whose feast day is Sept. 30, helped see to that. A doctor of the Church, he translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the Vulgate.
The Church makes sure that the Bible is not foreign to the faithful.
All Catholics going to church on Sundays “are exposed to so much of the Bible,” Sri (EdwardSri.com) said. “It’s like being part of a junior Bible study. A Catholic just showing up at Mass is exposed to the great breadth of Scripture.”
“At the same time, we should take time outside the liturgy to read the sacred Scriptures and see them as not just offering abstract theological principles, but see that this is God speaking to us today.”
He emphasizes that when God spoke to the Israelites at Mount Sinai and he gave them the Ten Commandments, “before they were ever put on the tablets of stone, he spoke the words on Mount Sinai to all the people, not just to Moses. All the people heard.”
“But look at the ‘Thou shall’ and ‘Thou shalt not,’” he added. “It was in the second person singular. Not in the plural ‘you’ all. … It was a personal word.”
“He might be telling me a story, but if I’m prayerfully reading the sacred Scriptures, I would sense there is something in this for me in my life today,” he continued. “There’s something God wants to show me in this word written centuries ago. These words written down continue to have life today and speak to my mind and heart today.”
The Bible for All
Don’t be intimidated by the Bible, Ray emphasized: The Bible is written for ordinary people as well as for scholars.
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For a great Bible Study program for individuals and groups, for novices and veterans, click here.